An old moderator has relaunched the hacking forum “Hell.”
The infamous dark web hacking forum called "Hell," where hackers and cybercriminals share stolen data and hacking tips, just relaunched months after it was shut down amid rumors of its founder being arrested and the forum being swarmed by undercover cops.
Last year, Hell made headlines when a hacker dumped the personal details and sexual preferences of almost 4 million users of the hookup site Adult Friend Finder. The data dump was only discovered months after the hack, forcing Adult Friend Finder to admit the breach. A couple of weeks later the site's administrator and founder, known as "Ping," disappeared, prompting rumors that he had been arrested. Even though Ping resurfaced a few days later, the website closed down shortly after in mid-July. (It was then briefly resurrected before going offline for good.)
Now, an old forum moderator has relaunched the site, which looks and feels exactly the same way—and it's still only accessible by using the anonymizing software Tor.
"Hell is now public," the new forum administrator, nicknamed "HA," wrote in a post. "Anyone can share the HELL URL where they see fit."
It's unclear when exactly Hell came back online as the forum doesn't log the dates when posts are made—likely for security reasons. An anonymous source tipped me off to the site's new .onion URL (http://legionhiden4dqh4.onion) on Sunday and judging from the extremely low amount of posts, it probably just relaunched last weekend.
The administrator, HA, did not respond to a request for comment made through the forum's private message system, and the old administrator, Ping, could not be reached for comment.
The site has the exact same design as the old one, down to the over-the-top logo of a sports car riding toward a hellish looking town. It also has similar message boards where users can buy and sell hacked data, as well as share their hacking techniques and tutorials.
"Welcome Back, I really missed the HELL."
Some users are already back on the site, though they seem skeptical and cautious.
"Welcome Back, I really missed the HELL," wrote a user named ain_el_morris, responding to a post by HA titled "we learn from our PAST," which was just a link to the first Motherboard article on Hell. "Thou [sic] must observe utmost precaution at all times and ONLY trust yourself."
In another thread titled "Is this actually safe?" a user called "Masclacht" asked: "How am I to trust the site administrator?"
"Don't worry about anything regarding LE,NSA and others," HA answered. "If you suspect anyone to be LE please let us know so that we can take proper action against them, since this is not a place for them."
For now, there's no indication that the site is a law enforcement honeypot, but given Hell's history, users might have a hard time trusting it.